There are plenty of people that are into running and exercising due to its major health benefits as well as its figure improving perks.
One of the most popular questions that may cross many runners’ minds is “does running make you taller?”.
We’ve done our research and checked tons of studies to debunk all the myths regarding this topic, and today, we’ve compiled this article to help you find the ultimate answer to this lingering question. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
Does Running Make You Taller?
If by making you taller you’re asking whether running can make an adult human taller, then the answer is simply no.
While there are a lot of false claims out there that running can possibly increase your height, all these are just a few myths without any scientific background to support the claim.
On the other hand, there are tons of studies and research that debunk these myths and confirm that once your body reaches a certain age of maturity, your skeleton will stop growing, and no exercise would ever be able to increase height or bone length.
Why Do People Seem Taller When They Run Frequently?
Despite all that, nobody can deny that people who run consistently may appear to have gained a few inches vertically.
Yet, there are several scientific explanations that provide reasons why some adults may look taller if they run frequently. Let’s check them out:
1. Running Helps in Improving Your Posture
The first and most popular reason why a lot of people look taller when they start incorporating running in their daily or weekly schedule is improving their posture.
According to various studies regarding this topic, running is an excellent exercise that can help you improve your general posture as well as abdominal draw-ins.
This means that you straighten your back due to stronger back muscle, so you don’t appear slouched or bending forward, so the end result is that you appear as tall as you actually are.
2. Running Makes You Leaner, So You Look Taller
Another way that running can make you taller is more about an optical illusion than an actual effect on the body.
Our brains usually perceive height as a relationship between a person’s length and width. For an overweight adult, the ratio between their vertical and horizontal length is a bit lower than that of a lean person.
For that reason, unless these two people stand by each other side to side, you might think that the learner person is taller because, in our minds, height is more associated with leanness.
As an overweight person starts to run consistently, especially with an improved diet, they’ll eventually shed some weight, which increases the ratio between their vertical and horizontal dimensions, and therefore give the illusion that they’re taller.
3. The Final Phase of Growth in Height Varies from One Person to the Other
From the moment we’re born and during our childhood and growth phase, the growth hormone (also known as “GH”) becomes responsible for growing both our bones and muscles, so we get taller.
However, at a certain age, which is usually around 18 to 21 years old, the production of growth hormone becomes limited, so our bodies stop growing taller.
Although bone and height growth stops at a specific point, there are always a few exceptions to this rule.
According to a study performed on 221 boys at the age of 19 and the changes in height up till they’re 27 years old, it was found that a few anomalies might still have an active growth hormone well beyond 21 years old.
In other words, an adult person might actually get taller while they’re running. However, their height growth is purely natural and has so little to do with whether they’re doing any exercise or not.
What Running Can’t Do to Make an Adult Taller
Now that you know more about running and what it can do to make you look taller, let’s have a look at some of the most popular myths surrounding running and its ability to make you a taller individual.
1. It Won’t Stimulate Growth Hormone
The first myth that has a surprising number of supporters despite lacking any scientific evidence is that running can stimulate growth hormones.
According to a study about the relationship between running and growth hormone secretion, it was found that only rigorous running can stimulate the secretion of the hormone.
However, this increase is fairly limited and can’t be accountable for any actual increase in height.
2. It Won’t Stretch the Spine
Although running can help you improve your posture by strengthening your spine, it can’t stretch the spine vertically or make your torso appear longer.
If anything, there’s one study that postulates that running for a very long distance can lead to a temporary compression in the intervertebral discs of the spine that only extends throughout the time of time, and then stretches back as you finish the run.
In other words, based on these findings, you get microscopically shorter while running and regain your height as soon as you stop.
What Are the Main Factors That Determine Your Height?
Ideally, there are several factors that may have an impact on an individual’s height, especially at a young age. The variation in these factors is the main reason why people come in a wide range of heights.
The first and most prominent determiner of our final height is, of course, our genetics. According to several studies, scientists believe that genetics alone can be accountable up to 80% for the determination of our height, as per studies on twins.
The other factor that can have some impact on the growth of a human is exercising. Some types of exercises can help in stretching the growth plates that are found in our bodies as infants or children.
This is confirmed by a wide range of studies, including an 8 year study regarding the growth of 7 year old children.
Healthy Diet Plan
In addition to genetics and exercise, it’s safe to say that a balanced diet that contains all the elements necessary for growth is immensely critical for the welfare of children and helping them reach the maximum potential height while growing. This includes vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium
Other Benefits of Running
Just because running doesn’t directly increase your bone length doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t run.
In fact, running remains one of the best exercises to make a habit in your daily life. In addition to making you look taller by the previously mentioned reasons, here are some of the benefits that running can bring along with it:
- Improves your overall health, including your heart and lung functions.
- Helps in repairing microscopic fractures that can make you appear shorter, especially as you advance in age.
- Increases bone density, which improves your bones’ protection from fractures of all kinds
- Alleviates the symptoms of anxiety and gives you a confidence boost that is necessary to keep your back stretched while running.
Are There Other Exercises That Can Make You Taller?
As previously established, no exercises will ever make an adult taller, as the production of growth hormone becomes extremely limited, so your skeleton can’t increase in length.
However, there are other exercises that can also help in improving your posture and making you appear even taller.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to small children, as practicing these exercises can actually help them increase their blood concentration of growth hormone, and therefore, reach the maximum possible height that their genetics can support naturally.
Here’s a quick list of some of the top exercises that can do this trick:
- Jumping rope
- Pullups and hanging from a bar
With that said, does running make you taller? Our final conclusion is that running doesn’t make you taller by physically extending the length of the bone, boosting growth hormone secretion in adults, or stretching your spine.
Despite that, running can still help you look noticeably taller by improving your overall posture and preventing the slouching of the back by strengthening your upper and lower body and core muscles.
Additionally, for many people, as you lose weight, your body will gain a slimmer and toned look that makes your body seem like you’ve grown a few inches!
Therefore, even if running doesn’t technically increase your height, it can still make you taller as a final result, let alone its great effect on your health and providing you with all other benefits that come with this excellent exercise.